A few weeks ago I visited Glencoe. This place is magical, and if you haven’t been there yet, I urge you to check out some of the best views you’ll see in Scotland.
Exploring is something I’ve loved since I was little. But it’s always the people you do it with that make every place that much more memorable.
My friend Megan, whom I met on social media just before the pandemic, invited me to join her on a trip to the beautiful part of the Highlands. I couldn’t resist, especially having never visited.
She describes me as her “foodie friend,” so I sent her ahead of time a few places I thought we should visit for dinner.
The Laroch restaurant and bar
The Laroch Restaurant and Bar in Ballachulish was one of them.
Conveniently located just 20 mins walk from our accommodation, we didn’t think to book in advance which we quickly realized was a big mistake
When we arrived the restaurant was packed. Despite the team’s rush, someone stopped to greet us and asked if we had a reservation.
Drenched by the rain that had started during our walk, we hesitated to answer “no”.
Running her finger over the reservations list, she stated what we feared the most, that there were no tables, and even worse, nowhere else to eat nearby. Our hearts sank and we desperately looked around the room to see if anyone was going to leave to free up a table.
As if by magic, our knight in shining armor (who was also part of the waiting team) approached the office to say that he could take us to his section because someone had just left.
She reviewed the list again and finally gave us the green light. We both exhaled with a huge sigh of relief.
Dining in the bar, we left behind the red and tartan restaurant and followed it to the bar.
It too was packed, but we were extremely grateful to see our table now cleared and ready for our arrival.
The menu offers a wide variety of dishes with lots of seafood and meat. There’s also a nod to local, and we both hummed and bragged about several options, which is always a good sign.
The only thing I didn’t like about the menu was its text font. It was wavy, greasy, and not the easiest to read. We both struggled to figure out where one dish description started and the other ended, but we finally got it.
We had ordered a gin and tonic and a glass of white wine to toast our success of the evening and as soon as I read the words ‘Laroch hot smoked salmon and Marie rose prawns’ I was sold.
The starter came with avocado and citrus vinaigrette (£9.50) and it was a generous portion. The Marie rose sauce was richer and covered all the prawns. The avocado was sweet and the micro herbs on top added crunch to the mix, while the tomatoes were plump and juicy.
Megan raved about the goats cheese bon bon with confit of red onions, apples, beets and walnuts (£7.50) and said it was the perfect mix of sweet and savory.
Each item complemented the next and there were lots of different textures between the crunchy nuts and pear puree. Every bit was interesting and different, including the thin slice of crisp apple, and the bon bon itself was huge.
The attention to detail on both plates was excellent and both very colorful.
For main I had opted for mussels but had chosen the small option (£9.50) and added a side of truffle parmesan fries (£4.25).
The portion of mussels was huge and was served in a garlic cider sauce with lots of sliced onions. Parsley was sprinkled all over the dish and I dipped the accompanying pieces of bread into the sauce which was very creamy.
I offered to split my chips with Megan and we both agreed for the prize that there wasn’t enough in the small bowl presented to them. The truffle and parmesan cheese weren’t evenly distributed and seemed a bit like an afterthought to the other awesome dishes we had ordered.
As recommended by our waiter, Megan opted for the Thai green chilli chicken curry (£16.50). It was creamy and flavorful and the rice to curry ratio worked well while the fresh chilli provided the heat she was looking for.
Thick chunks of succulent chicken breast were covered in sauce and roasted coconut was sprinkled on top. It wasn’t just any pub curry.
Although we were stuffed, we knew we would be going up the Pap of Glencoe the next day, so we decided to fill some boots.
I liked the chocolate and orange tart with clementine ice cream (£7.50) and the white chocolate cheesecake (£7.50) with orange, pineapple and passion fruit piqued the curiosity of Megan.
The candied orange bitter chocolate was delicious and the sorbet, although a bit sour, was actually creamier than anything else. It was refreshing and sat on a bed of chocolate earth. The short biscuit base was easy to cut and the whole thing was very tasty.
Megan’s cheesecake looked just like a photo and was topped with candied orange segments and pineapple.
The fried passion fruit sorbet and mash underneath was deliciously refreshing and worked well with the sweeter cheesecake.
Full to the gunwales, we settled in and dragged ourselves away from the comfort of the cozy bar.
Some patrons had already opened the dart board and were competing against each other, while others were laughing over goblets of gin and pints of beer.
It wasn’t until we were leaving and complimenting the presentation and flavors of the dishes that we discovered that the owner and head chef Alan Donald is a Michelin starred chef and had worked in various Michelin starred venues.
Now things made sense…
Laroch Restaurant and Bar is a Highland gem. For anyone heading to Glencoe or living locally, I can’t recommend the food here highly enough.
Not only will you be able to explore a delicious, elegantly prepared menu, but you will also be able to experience incredible views of the hills, mountains and lochs that surround the village of Ballachulish.
A must visit for anyone venturing down this road and looking for a tasty scran and a place to grab a few drinks.
Address: Laroch Restaurant and Bar, Loanfern, Ballachulish PH49 4JB
P: 01855 811940
Price: £74.05 for three courses for two, a side dish and a glass of wine and a gin and tonic.
- Food: 4/5
- Performance: 4/5
- Environment: 3.5/5
For more restaurant reviews…
Already subscribed? Login
[The Laroch Restaurant and Bar in Glencoe]